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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Illnesses and Injuries in Poultry Processing Plants Decline in 2019


The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the Department of Labor recorded an incidence rate for illness and injuries of 3.2 cases per 100 full time workers in 2019.  This figure compares with 3.5 cases per 100 full time workers during the previous year.  The entire food-manufacturing sector recorded a rate of 4.0 cases per 100 full time workers compared to the value for all manufacturing activities of 3.3 cases. 


The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council comprising members of USPOULTRY, the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation jointly employ 350,000 workers. The Council commented on the improved figures for 2019 asserting "employees' safety has been and will always be a priority for the poultry industry”. The statement continued, “the poultry industry is continuing to focus its efforts on the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses especially musculoskeletal disorders including carpal tunnel syndrome by applying ergonomics and medical intervention while continually implementing new technology and automation in the workplace".


 It is emphasized that the data reflects 2019, predating the emergence of COVID-19.  While a number of broiler operations in the southeast recorded a relatively low number of of cases of COVID-19 among workers, the situation in red meat plants, especially in the Midwest and northern-tier states far exceeded cases in poultry installations.


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Occupational Research Agenda for Manufacturing and OSHA are reviewing statistics relating to COVID-19 in plants and are developing appropriate recommendations to limit infection.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane